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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Dawkins’

Well, this caught me off guard. And maybe it will surprise you, too.

In his new book Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, British author and historian Tom Holland, who is not a Christian, claims the morals of the western world would not exist without Christianity.

For many people, this claim might seem heretical, deluded and just plain wrong. But Holland makes a strong case.

Writing for stream.org, reviewer Jonathon Van Maren notes this:

While studying the ancient world, Holland writes, he realized something. Simply, the ancients were cruel, and their values utterly foreign to him. The Spartans routinely murdered “imperfect” children. The bodies of slaves were treated like outlets for the physical pleasure of those with power. Infanticide was common. The poor and the weak had no rights.

So how did we get from that horrific past to the much better (yet still very imperfect) present? Van Maren picks this up from Holland’s book:

It was Christianity, Holland writes. Christianity revolutionized sex and marriage, demanding that men control themselves and prohibiting all forms of rape. Christianity confined sexuality within monogamy. (It is ironic, Holland notes, that these are now the very standards for which Christianity is derided.) Christianity elevated women. In short, Christianity utterly transformed the world.

This is stunning – until you realize it’s part of a trend. Richard Dawkins, the celebrity atheist who wrote The God Delusion (considered by many to be a modern-day bible of atheism) has recently warned that if Christianity is wiped off the map in the western world, it could be replaced by something far, far worse.

That’s not a glowing endorsement for following Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the divine Son of God), until you remember it’s coming from a very public, articulate and strident critic of Christianity.

If you’ve gotten this far, perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, that’s nice. Glad Christianity did some good stuff. But what does that have to do with me?”

Well, since you’re open to spirituality, this is a good time to ask yourself what other faiths have contributed to western civilization. And I include atheism here, because it takes faith to believe there’s nothing behind all we see and experience.

If you’re partial to the self-help approach to spirituality, then my pastor friend Ross Carkner has a few questions:

Does self-help make the world a better place? Or does it just help me? And if it’s just about me, isn’t that narcissistic? To be worth anything, self-help must eventually be turned outwards — and when it does, what guides it?

Given the viewpoints of Tom Holland and Richard Dawkins, and given Ross’s thoughts about a self-help approach to life, let me ask you this: is it time you seriously investigated the claims of Jesus?

I believe if you do this with open-minded honesty, you’ll be drawn to this extraordinary man and place Him at the centre your world now and in the life to come.

Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Elegance Richard Dawkins If you’re not sure there’s a god, but you’re open to spirituality, then give this graphic (kindly supplied by an atheist internet community) a moment of thought.

Am I crazy? Or do you also think the message seems….contradictory? I mean, how can ANYTHING be elegant if it’s just random?

Toss a handful of potato chips on the ground. According to Richard Dawkins – one of the world’s best known and most provocative atheists – the scrambled, disorganized puzzle you see is somehow elegant. And all on its own.

I was extraordinarily blessed to visit the west coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island recently. As I walked along the glorious beaches, I came across a sand dollar. You can see one of the photos I made of it just below.

Now Wikipedia describes this exquisite creation as “a species of extremely flattened, burrowing sea urchins belonging to the order Clypeasteroida”.

But look at that unfathomably artistic pattern. Wikipedia’s clinical explanation says “The petal-like pattern in sand dollars consists of five paired rows of pores. The pores are perforations in the endoskeleton through which podia for gas exchange project from the body.”

SandDollarLook at that sand dollar pattern again. Did it really have to be organized like this? Centuries ago, only the most Rembrandt-like artist could have come anywhere close to conjuring up this design out of nowhere.

Today, the rest of us couldn’t do as well with a Spyrograph (the geometric drawing toy). And yet, there are people in our world who will insist, to their dying breath, that this is utterly random.

Bringing up unfathomable artistry leads me to the comments of Ross Carkner, my wise pastor friend to whom I showed the graphic that inspired this blog.

I immediately think of painting by Rembrandt or VanGogh … when I do, the statement in this graphic just seems to be so stupid! Their paintings had a master who gave them elegance.

Symphonies and operas that move people and touch deep parts of the soul have a passionate composer, gifted musicians and a talented conductor – they work together to give paper with ink blotches elegance.

Even a snow flake is not random. Its elegance is created by forces outside of itself – temperature and moisture. But Richard Dawkins wants to see no consistency in life … nature is random but humanity is somehow organized. Where did human beings get the compulsion to organize everything? Why do we not live out the random existence found in creation??? We don’t, because creation was organized, not random.

So what am I getting at? Not only is there a creator, there is a creator who regularly conjures up unique and fantastical creations. That includes me and YOU.

However, by living our lives as if we have no creator, we inevitably do wrong and fail to do right.

How can we fix this problem? On our own, we simply can’t. But God can. He offers us Jesus – His divine son whose life, sacrificial death and glorious resurrection makes up for all the wrongs of anyone who accepts the gift of Him.

Follow Jesus and He’ll change your life, for the better, for now and for all eternity. Interested? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Dance of dogma 1.16When I saw this graphic on an Internet atheism community, I wasn’t sure why I saved it for Frank’s Cottage. Then I looked up the definition of “dogma”.

According to Wikipedia, dogma is “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself.”

Hmm. Where does this apply? The more I thought about it, the more I realized: where DOESN’T it apply?

Every person on this planet follows some kind of “principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”

Evidence?

  • Business tycoons like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are died-in-the-wool capitalists. They believe in and follow capitalist dogma and won’t have anything to do with any other economic system.
  • Remember communism? Some of its most famous practitioners — China’s Mao Tse Tung and Russia’s Vladimir Lenin — believed in and followed communist dogma their entire lives. They refused to have anything to do with democracy.

What about atheists? Based on my many, many interactions with them, most appear to follow dogma laid down by atheist authors Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) and Richard Dawkins.

These three routinely advance the position that there is absolutely nothing good about “religion” (I agree, and here’s why: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-i9) and that believing in a supreme creator is primitive superstition and harmful to humanity.

In the atheist Internet communities I often visit, these viewpoints are treated as dogma. In these communities, I never see posts that contradict these positions.

So, dogma applies to all of us. That leaves the question: which dogma do YOU follow? In your heart of hearts, do you believe that it’s all about having a comfortable, happy life now and never mind what comes after? Do you believe that when you die, all that you are will become nothing more than rancid worm food?

Do the dogmas I just mentioned leave you feeling cold and, perhaps, even a bit hopeless? Are you ready to re-examine them, despite the pressures of your friends, loved ones and our culture as a whole?

Then consider the claims of Christianity. The hope it presents for all of us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (who serious Christians believe is God’s divine Son).

Talk to knowledgeable people about it. If you don’t know any, then email me at fdking@hotmail.com and I’ll do my best to help. No matter what our culture insists, figuring out what dogma YOU follow is important stuff.

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